Wexford athletes to represent Ireland at Special Olympics world games
Two athletes from Co Wexford will be flying the flag for their country when they travel to Abu Dhabi in March to compete as part of the Team Ireland squad in this year's Special Olympics World Games which will be held from March 14 to 21.
John Doyle (34), from Gorey, will compete in badminton while Lisa Redmond (29), from Tomhaggard, will take part in artistic gymnastics.
They will be part of a 91-strong squad who will join over 7,000 Special Olympic athletes from 170 different countries at the games.
John is a member of Special Olympics Club Gorey while Lisa is a member of Wexford Special Olympics Club. Speaking to this newspaper about the trip Lisa's mother, Martha, said her daughter is very excited to be involved.
'She's very excited and a little nervous at the same time,' she said.
'She has mixed feelings but she's definitely looking forward to it and is delighted to be going.' Remarkably, Lisa only took up gymnastics a little over a year ago which makes her selection to Team Ireland all the more significant.
John Doyle is also excited about the prospect of performing on the world's biggest stage. Involved with Special Olympics since 2004 he said: 'I hoped I'd be selected but didn't expect it so it was a big surprise.'
'I'm looking forward to it now,' he said.
John and Lisa are currently collecting Irish badges that they will swap with athletes from other countries while in Abu Dhabi and in doing so will effectively be ambassadors for Ireland.
John is hoping he might have badges representing the four towns in Co Wexford as part of his collection when he goes over.
The Irish team's basketball coach, Michael Murphy, is another Model County native, from Wexford town, who will also be part of the squad.